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Free English app aimed at vocational students

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The Education Ministry is adding another free application to its Echo English series, this one, Echo English V, is aimed at vocational students.

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English app for technical students to be launched

Dumrongkiat Mala

The Education Ministry will introduce a new version of an English-learning app in two months to boost vocational students' English proficiency.

The app, Echo English V, with V standing for vocational, is specifically designed for vocational students.

"Thai graduates will certainly face tougher competition in the regional labour market in the near future, so we have to ensure they are well-prepared for the competitive job market," Education Minister Teerakiat Jareonsettasin said Thursday, referring to the Asean Community (AC).

Teerakiat: Need to stay competitive


The app, which will be ready for free download in March, is being jointly developed by the Office of the Vocational Education Commission (Ovec) and the private sector, according to Mr Teerakiat.

It will have thousands of useful English words and phrases regularly used in nine vocational fields including hospitality, tourism and marketing.

It will also provide about 200 English lessons that include speaking, listening, reading, and writing exercises.

The minister said most vocational schools focus on teaching English grammar, with learning being largely bookish and repetitive, leaving students unable to communicate effectively in practical situations.

He said the app will provide practical and useful English that will fit their future careers.

The minister added he didn't expect students to become fluent after using the app, but said it should be able to help their confidence when using the English language.

The app, which will be available in both Andriod and iOS formats, is part of the ministry's policy to provide free access to English learning for vocational students.

The ministry introduced two other versions of the Echo English app, which were designed for the general public and school students, last March.

They will be among five apps being developed to help Thais improve their English in different professions. The other versions, aimed at people in the tourism industry, engineers and technicians and civil servants, are to follow. After a trial period in six secondary schools, the school student version was made available to other schools across the country last year.

Video explains the Echo English concept in Thai

As well as developing Echo English V, Ovec has also arranged EP (English Programme) and Mini EP curricula in many vocational education institutes under its control to ensure Thai workers do not fall behind in the labour market, its deputy secretary-general Wanich Uamsri said.

There are currently 167 vocational institutes nationwide, with more than 4,000 students in these programmes. The majority of students are not though, he said.

Mr Wanich admitted the English proficiency of vocational students outside the EP and mini EP is low.

Factors discouraging better English proficiency among Thai students, a long-term problem for the education sector, include old-fashioned ways of teaching, the influence of Thai culture, and low motivation to learn another language.

"Thai students are good workers, but they still lack language skills, which will limit their career opportunities," he said.

Learn from listening

Click "play" to listen to Free English app aimed at vocational students and "Download" to keep this file for educational purpose.

Vocabulary:

access : having the opportunity to have or use something - มีโอกาสในการใช้

admitted (verb): agreed that something is true, especially when you are unhappy, sorry or surprised about it - ยอมรับ

aim : to have as your target - เล็ง

application (app) : a program designed to do a particular job; a piece of software - โปรแกรมใช้งาน, โปรแกรมคอมพิวเตอร์

available : that you can get, use, find or buy - มีอยู่, หาได้

bookish (adj): very formal, like the language of serious books, instead of being informal; more interested in reading books and studying than doing more physical activities - เกี่ยวกับหนังสือ, ชอบอ่านหนังสือ

boost : to increase - เพิ่ม

career : a job or series of related jobs that you do, especially a profession that you spend a lot of your working life in - อาชีพ

civil servants : people who work in the government departments responsible for putting central government plans into action - ข้าราชการ

commission : an official group of people who have been given responsibility to control something, or to find out about something, usually for the government - คณะกรรมการ, คณะกรรมาธิการ

communicate (verb): to express thoughts, feelings, or information to another person or animal, for example by speaking or writing - สื่อสาร, ติดต่อสื่อสาร

competition : a situation in which people or organizations compete, i.e., try to be more successful or better than somebody else who is trying to do the same as you - การแข่งขัน

competitive : having a high level of close competition - แข่งขันสูง

confidence : being certain of your abilities or of having trust in people, plans, or the future - ความมั่นใจ

culture (noun): the customs and beliefs, art, way of life and social organization of a particular country or group - วัฒนธรรม

currently : at this time; now - ในปัจจุบัน

curricula (noun): (plural form of "curriculum") the subjects that are included in courses of study or taught in a school, college, etc. - หลักสูตร

deputy : a person whose rank is immediately below that of the leader of an organisation - รอง

develop : to think of or produce a new idea, product, etc. and make it successful; to build new houses, factories, etc. on an area of land, especially land that was not being used effectively before - พัฒนา

discourage : to make someone feel like something should not be done - ทำให้ไม่อยาก (ทำสิ่งใดสิ่งหนึ่ง)

effectively : producing the result that was intended - ได้ผลดี

engineer (noun): a person whose job involves designing and building engines, machines, roads, bridges, etc. - วิศวกร

ensure : to make certain that something happens or is done - ให้การยืนยัน, รับรอง, ให้ความมั่นใจ

factors (noun): facts or situations which influence the result of something - ปัจจัย

field (noun): an area of specialized knowledge that people work, study, teach and do research in - สาขา, วงการ, แวดวง

fluent : able to speak, read or write a language, especially a foreign language, easily and well - คล่อง, พูดหรือเขียนได้อย่างคล่องแคล่ว

focus : to give attention, effort, etc. to one particular subject, situation or person rather than another - เพ่งความสนใจ

format : the arrangement, design or organisation of something - รูปแบบ

general public : people in general - ประชาชน, สาธารณชน, มหาชน

graduate : a person who has a university degree - ผู้รับปริญญา, ผู้สำเร็จการศึกษา

hospitality industry : hotels, restaurants, etc.; businesses that provide services for guests - อุตสาหกรรมที่เกี่ยวกับงานบริการ

influence : the power to have an effect on people or things - อิทธิพล

institute (noun): an organization that has a particular purpose, especially one that is connected with education or a particular profession; the building used by this organisation - สถาบัน,องค์การ,วิทยาลัย,สถาบันหนึ่งของมหาวิทยาลัย

jointly : done together - อย่างร่วมกัน, พร้อมกัน, ด้วยกัน

labour market (noun): the number of people who are available to work, considered together with all the available jobs - ตลาดแรงงาน

lack (verb): to not have something - ขาด

launch (verb): to start something - เริ่มต้น, เปิดโครงการ, เริ่มทำ

limit : to stop something from increasing beyond a particular amount or level - จำกัด

majority (noun): most of the people in a group - คนส่วนใหญ่, เสียงส่วนใหญ่

minister : a member of the cabinet, the group of government ministers who make and approve government policy - รัฐมนตรี

ministry : a government department that has a particular area of responsibility - กระทรวง

motivation : a reason for doing something - แรงจูงใจ

nationwide : throughout a whole country - ทั่วทั้งประเทศ

old-fashioned : not modern; no longer fashionable - ที่ล้าสมัย

opportunity (noun): a chance to do something, or a situation in which it is easy for you to do something - โอกาส

phrase : a group of words which have a particular meaning when used together - ถ้อยคำ, วลี

policy (noun): a set of plans or action agreed on by a government, political party, business, or other group - นโยบาย

practical : suitable for the situation in which something is used - ที่ขึ้นอยู่กับความเป็นจริง

private sector : businesses and industries that are not owned or controlled by the government - ภาคเอกชน

profession : a type of job that needs special training or skill, especially one that needs a high level of education - อาชีพ

proficiency (noun): the ability to do some task or work correctly and efficiently; skill, knowledge, competence - ความช่ำชอง, ความเจนจัด, ความสามารถ, ประสิทธิภาพ,ความเชี่ยวชาญ, ความคล่องแคล่ว

provide : to give someone/ something that they want or need - จัดหาให้, จัดเตรียมไว้ให้

regional : of or relating to a region - เกี่ยวกับภูมิภาค

regularly : done or happening often, especially with the same time and space in between each activity and the next - เป็นประจำ, เสมอๆ

repetitive : saying or doing the same thing many times, so that it becomes boring - ซึ่งเกิดซ้ำๆ, ซึ่งกล่าวซ้ำ

secondary school : a school for young people, usually between the ages of 11 and 16 or 18 - ชั้นมัธยมศึกษา

secretary-general (noun): the person who is in charge of the department that deals with the running of a large international or political organisation - เลขาธิการ, เลขาธิการใหญ่

sector : a group that is part of a larger group - ภาค (ทางเศรษฐกิจหรือสังคม)

situation : all the circumstances and things that are happening at a particular time and in a particular place - สถานการณ์

skills (noun): the ability to do certain things well, usually as a result of experience and training - ฝีมือ, ทักษะ

specifically (adv.): in a detailed and exact way; especially for one purpose - เฉพาะ, เฉพาะเจาะจง

technical students (noun): vocational students - นักเรียนอาชีวศึกษา

technicians (noun): people whose jobs are keeping particular types of equipment or machinery in good condition - เจ้าหน้าที่เทคนิค, ช่าง

tough : difficult to do or to deal with - ยาก ยากลำบาก

version : a particular form of something which varies slightly from other forms of the same thing - ชุด, เวอร์ชั่น

vocational students : students attending a school which provided the skills necessary for particular jobs - นักเรียนอาชีวศึกษา

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